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How does Sir Arthur Conan Doyle puzzle and intrigue his readers, in his stories about Sherlock Holmes?

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How does Sir Arthur Conan Doyle puzzle and intrigue his readers, in his stories about Sherlock Holmes? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories over 100 years ago. From the first novel, A Study in Scarlet (Beetons Christmas Annual 1887) to The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes published in 1927, Doyle's Holmes and Watson were entertaining readers for over forty years, with their stories of Victorian crimes, and carry on doing so to this day. The serialized novels and the many short stories were published in the most popular magazine of the time, The Strand. Keeping weekly audiences hooked in the mythical and absorbing world of Victorian society, much of which was as alien to the middle class readers as it is to the modern readers of today. Places like the Opium dens in The Man With The Twisted Lip were places that were ill frequented by the readers, and the exotic way that Conan Doyle described them, intertwined with a plot full of suspense keeps the reader on the edge of their proverbial seats. The way that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle give the clues to the reader, means that the reader can really identify with Sherlock Holmes, and begin to see themselves are the leading man. He does this by giving us, as the reader, all the clues that Sherlock Holmes gets, at the same time, and the only thing the reader has to do is work out what is happening in Holmes' mind, following where the clues are taking him, at the same time as working out what the clues mean for themselves. ...read more.


Like the fact teat most of the people in Victorian society would not believe that this middle class businessman in St Clair could possibly be the vagrant Hugh Boone. Conan Doyle knew about the power of the first pages of a story, it is the difference between the readers finishing the story or discarding it, so he made them interesting, instantly intriguing the reader. A good example is the Man with the twisted lip. In this story the narrative starts with a sort biography of Isa Whitney, and then of his wife coming to Watson asking for his help in finding him, setting the story up to be about Watson's adventure trying to find him. Instead there is a sunned twist in the story, when Watson finds Holmes in the Opium den, where he has just found Isa Whitney. This stets the reader thinking. They have just read a page about Isa Whitney, and now he has been found very quickly, and appears to be leaving the main story line, also, what is Sherlock Holmes doing in an Opium den. Suddenly the readers thoughts about the story line have been upended, this grabs their attention, and puts them in a position where they wish to know what is going to happen now, and where on earth is the story going? The endings of all of Arthur Conan Doyle's are particularly satisfying to the readers, and make it more likely for the reader to go and read another story. ...read more.


The skills and expertise that Holmes has are beautifully exhibited in The Cardboard Box, where Holmes has the opportunity to show off his many varied areas of knowledge. He has an in-depth knowledge of the human body, "In last years Anthropological Journal you will find two short monographs from my pen on the subject." The subject being the human Pina (outer ear). And then again his varied knowledge exhibited when he is examining the cardboard box, its wrapping, and its contents. All were identified with the utmost knowledge of the subject and accuracy. It also shows of his sensitive side at the end of the story, when he asks Watson "What is the meaning of it ... What object is served by the visions circle of misery and violence and fear?" this shows a new side to Sherlock Holmes from the intelligent, hardnosed fighter for Justice that is usually portrayed. In conclusion, I will say that using all these devices, Doyle successfully builds up curiosity and hence mystery and intrigue. Using little but heavy description, he is able to build up a powerful image that has the ability to shock the reader into submission. It is, for the most part, instantly believable and this serves the purpose of lulling the reader into a false sense of security. When the whole truth is finally revealed it is ever more vivid and much more successful in entertaining the reader. Alex Bradford September 2004 Pre 1914 English Literature Coursework 1 ...read more.

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